Continuing the series of photos taken at the London Wetlands Centre whilst attending the wildlife photography workshop.






Am travelling a lot this week so a chance to look back at some posts from one of my favourite spots, The London Wetland Centre

The wetland Centre collection shows off the wonderful work that the Wetlands Trust do in helping to save and re-introduce endangered species from around the world. The centre collection area has also become home to native species such as the Moorhen, Tufted Duck and Mallard and helps promote other plants and insects.

Fulvous Whistling Duck

Fulvous Whistling Duck

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

Red Admiral. Photo by Sue

Red Admiral. Photo by Sue

Moorhen with chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen with chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen and chick. Photo by Sue

Moorhen and chick. Photo by Sue

White-headed Duck

White-headed Duck

June 14th 1645 saw a history-changing event. The English Civil War had dragged on for 3 years and neither the forces of King Charles I or those of the Parliamentarians had been able to make any significant victory. But on this day things changed.

Naseby Battlefield
By D Gore, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13571923

There had been victories and defeats for both sides but the tide was beginning to turn towards Parliament. The previous month the Royalists had sacked Leicester and a Parliamentary army under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, destined to be the two most successful commanders of the war, was dispatched to finally bring the Royalist army to battle.

Oliver Cromwell
By After Peter Lely – National Maritime Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15076800

This was the first outing for the New Model Army, a reformed Parliamentary army which removed all forms of external influence on its actions and formation and handed control to experienced campaigners rather than the anti-Royalist members of the House of Lords. It could be seen as a model for future army constitutions.

Following Leicester, King Charles was urged to attack the Parliamentary army before it was fully formed. But it was Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Charles’ senior advisor who urged retreat. This is interesting as the reputation of Prince Rupert that comes down from the Civil War is of a reckless, fearless cavalry commander who would charge into any situation. So the Royalists retreated.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine
By After Peter Lely – National Maritime Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15076800

The battle went badly for the Royalists and even the small victory of Prince Rupert’s cavalry breaking through and reaching the baggage train behind Parliamentary lines turned sour when he realised that the opposition here was too strong and he would not be able to press home his attack. He returned to the main battle, which was by now going badly for the King, but having fought their way back, they were no longer in any condition to render aid to the failing royalist forces.

The Cavalier Monument at Naseby
By D Gore, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13638344

The aftermath of the battle was that although the King escaped, he had lost up to 15% of his army dead or wounded and another 70% surrendered or captured. The royalists were never able to put another army into the field and within a year the King was a fugitive fleeing for his life until eventually he was captured in January 1647. It really was a turning point.

King Charles I
By After Anthony van Dyck – National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5978927

I remember walking along a boardwalk at a reserve in Texas and seeing an American Bittern in the marsh just to the side. It just stood and watched me as I walked right past it. Amazing experience.

Stephen G Hipperson


We saw a fair number of these Tiger-Herons.  This one was standing in a tree, quite some way from water.  It allowed me to get relatively close – had this been a UK equivalent it  would have flown as soon as it saw me approach.


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There were three classes of Passengers on the SS Great Britain

Luxury in First Class

Comfort in Second Class

Not much privacy in Steerage

SS Great Britain

Posted: June 11, 2019 in Bristol, History, Ships, UK

SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the world’s first ocean liner. Launched in 1843 she was the largest ship in the world with the most powerful engines. She also employed the highly innovative screw propeller system, rather than the conventional paddle wheels. She sailed from Bristol, a major terminus on Brunel’s Great Western Railway across the Atlantic to the USA. However, this was short-lived and the costs of running the ship and of refloating her after she ran aground off Northern Island in 1846 caused the owners to reconsider the whole project. Unable to afford the costs of repair they sold her.

From 1852 she carried emigrants travelling from the UK to Australia, carrying 700 passengers per trip, and in 1881 was converted from Steam and Sail power to a Sail only ship and used as a cargo vessel, plying between Bristol and the west coast of the USA. In 1886, having been damaged as she rounded Cape Horn, she sought refuge in Stanley Harbour in the Falkland Islands. The ship’s owners decided that the cost of repairs were too high and so they sold her to the Falkland Islands Company to be used as a floating Warehouse and later a coal bunker. In 1937 she was suttled and sunk.

In 1970 a project financed by Sir Jack Arnold Hayward was started to raise the ship. Repairs were carried out to make her sea-worthy enough to be towed back to Bristol, where she was placed in dry-dock, the same one she had been built in, and restoration commenced.

Bristol from the Water

Posted: June 10, 2019 in Bristol, History, UK

In Bristol for a meeting, but also some time to do a little sightseeing. Arriving at Temple Meads Station, I catch one of the Water Ferries which run along Bristol’s waterways.

It is a great way to see the city.

The Ferry stops at the City Centre

before continuing past brightly coloured residential suburbs

and houses and restaurants on the water

to my final destination: Brunel’s iconic ship SS Great Britain

I have visited the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam on a number of occasions but was unaware that he had lived in the UK for 3 years or seen any of his UK pictures.

Tammy Tour Guide

Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night 1888 Vincent Van Gogh – ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’. Paris, Musée d’Orsay. Photo – RMN-Grand Palais/Hervé Lewandowski.

If you ask the average man or woman in the street to name a famous painter, they’d probably pick Vincent Van Gogh. He’s one of the most memorable artists who ever lived with his vibrant paintings which strike a powerful emotional chord.

Van Gogh has been immortalised in songs, Hollywood films, posters, advertisements and even on tea towels. He’s quintessentially Dutch, having been born in the Netherlands, but lived for most of his artistic life in France.

But few people know that he also lived in England for three years between 1873-1876.  The Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate Britain takes us on his British journey and looks at how he was influenced by his stay in London.  But does it tell us anything new about him?

Van Gogh’s Love of Britain


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Travelling through London Bridge railway station yesterday I was surprised to see a Spitfire on the concourse.

It was part of the 75th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings.

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5051 Drysllwyn Castle is an example of the GWR 4-6-0 Castle class, which was an updated version of their earlier star class and was designed by Collett from 1923. In all, 171 Castle class locomotives were built for the Great Western.

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5051 left Swindon Works in 1936, with its current name, but the following year it was renamed Earl Bathurst. it retained this name for the remainder of its active life. It was based at Swansea and worked trains from there to London and the Midlands. It was withdrawn in 1963 and sent to Woodham brothers at Barry, where it remained until 1970 when it was taken to Didcot. It was restored to mainline condition in 1980, and worked rail tours until its withdrawal in 2008.

video by 45064 (http://www.youtube.com/user/45064?feature=watch)

It is currently on static display at the great Western society in Didcot